It’s not a David Feng talk if it’s not about trains. With the population of just over two Londons moving from the countryside to the city every year across China, something will have to carry them. And whilst the country may have pretty much the largest national motorway network on the planet, it’s also home to over two-thirds of the world’s HSR tracks.
This already-massive network — at 19,000 km (11,806 miles) — is expected to grow even more by 2020, with figures by then to hit 30,000 km (18,641 miles) for the entire nationwide HSR network. With most trunk lines running at no less than 300 km/h (186 mph), this is going to be one of the most efficient ways to get across the country.
My talk on 12 April 2016 at the London Book Fair introduced urbanisation in China and its effects, with a focus on infrastructure. ▶
Urbanisation in China is something that is literally breathtaking to behold. In late 2009, I did a drive for about a hundred miles just east of Beijing. I was just absolutely stunned by just how urbanised this erstwhile rural part of the Middle Kingdom became. It has also meant massive upgrades for many Chinese. The hutong alleyways of Old Beijing, as an example, had communal toilets instead of toilets in each compound. For those living “above ground” as in what I call the “low-rise” flats, we had loos that looked like they were hastily rushed, and a minimal kitchen solution.
In newer flats, we have better amenities, an emphasis on recycling, better transport links, and improved security. And yet, what I find pretty saddening is whilst we’re being couch potatoes (or sucked in our 9 inch screens) in those newer, and probably glitzier, high-rises, we’re seeing more and more of the older parts of town go away — for good. ▶
I will be talking about China and urbanisation at the London Book Fair, which will be held at Olympia Exhibition Centre. For further details as to where you can find me, follow me on Twitter (@DavidFeng).
I am expected to talk around 15:55 on Tuesday, 12 April 2016, although I might begin a few minutes earlier depending actual situations, so if you’re coming, I advise you to come around 5-10 minutes before time.
The talk on urbanisation will also coincide with the release of a new series of books on China urbanisation. In addition to remaining active in the China media world, I will also be taking an increasingly closer look at China’s urbanisation. ▶
I’ve been in just around 250 cities in 24 countries and territories, so I am seeing more and more cities that look the same. And Milton Keynes, or MK for short, sure counts as one of the weirder cities I’ve been to.
For a start, it’s in essence Shangdi (in Beijing; just by Zhongguancun), but rotated about 40° or so; otherwise it’s not unlike newer parts of Zhongguancun and northern / northwestern Beijing (especially around the Xi’erqi area). There are huge avenues (not unlike China), but that’s it; otherwise, it’s all square / rectangular office buildings.
I think I summed it up pretty well on Facebook:
Britain-ise Zhongguancun and Shangdi, turn the thing 40 degrees around, wave a magic wand, and kaboom: you get Milton Keynes. ▶
I have just been informed that in addition to being a discussant on the Civilised dialogue – transcultural and comparative panel at the upcoming UK-China Culture Exchange – 2nd Global China Dialogue: Transculturality and New Global Governance conference, I will also be speaking at the next panel on Urbanisation and the Fabric of China’s Internet.
Most of you know that I’ve been deeply involved in this on two fronts: riding around the country by HSR (and seeing how cities have in essence sprung up from bang in the middle of nowhere — Wuqing is your classic case study) — and a focus on the Internet in China. I’ve also taken a good look at how the two likely match up, so this will be quite a novel presentation.
I am expected to speak in the timeslot between 15:45 and 16:30. ▶